To All Aspiring NSW State Liberal Candidates

To all aspiring Liberal candidates for the 2011 NSW election: I write this as a warning to you all. Please do not interpret this as an attack on the Liberal Party, a body that, for all it’s faults, I deeply do love – since handing out my first ‘how to vote’ in 1995 at the age of only 12, I have dedicated my life to serving the party for many, many years, and I have no plans for change. I write this purely to serve as a word of warning, and to let you know of a growing issue that worries me greatly.

My concern is that the more the NSW Opposition adopts stances contrary to conservative values, contrary to intellectual thought, and contrary to the beliefs of its members, the more likely it will be that our core members will sit out the next election.

In the last week, I have been flooded with emails and messages from Liberal Party members expressing their dismay at the direction our parliamentary wing has taken. Not just Young Liberals, not just the usual band of ideologues, but members from all across the spectrum. Members who even in my wildest dreams I would never expect to have agreeing with me are writing me emails expressing their disgust at the actions of the NSW Opposition. Moderates with whom I would have thought I wouldn’t have agreed on anything Liberal Party wise! And the common theme? How they no longer believe in the State Party. And how they no longer have any will to campaign.

The troops are no longer just restless, they are set to mutiny.

The NSW Opposition has consistently failed to enunciate any true Liberal beliefs on governance. It has consistently failed to promote the message of small government, individual freedom, and free markets. It has done nothing to differentiate ourselves from the ALP, other than to say “well, we’re different people”. Members join the Liberal Party for values, for beliefs.  They are ready to forgive a lot, and to understand political pragmatism, but there is a level. Sure, we can explain away voting to oppose privatisation – from a political perspective, the argument does make some sense. But when you have a clear track record – exemplified by the disgraceful decision to censor school league tables, where there was no political gain whatsoever – of going against everything the Liberal Party stands for, our members have a limit. Like the straw that broke the camels back, I worry that too many of our members shall say ‘enough is enough’.

What makes matters worse (or rather more saddening) is that the organisational wing of the NSW Division really is doing such a great job. Under the leadership of Nick Campbell and Mark Neeham, we really are embracing web 2.0 concepts, and moving boldly into the 21st century in terms of campaigning. Our online presence, our willingness to interact with voters, and to embrace bottom-up methodology is streaks ahead of any other state division. But without people, what do we really have?

Some might say, it doesn’t matter. On the ground campaign numbers mean little in today’s day and age. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Without people knocking on doors, interacting with constituents, actively trying to garner votes, our 2011 vote will be significantly lower than it should, and a number of seats that should fall, won’t.

Will we still win the election? Probably. With the ALP top contenders for the “world’s worst government” award, it’s hard to see how we won’t irrespective of our campaigners. But what this does effect is just by how much. How many good Liberals will actually be elected, and unless this trend is reversed, what should be a landslide, will be an election we’ll only just win.

So my message is pure and simple. If you want to be a Liberal candidate in a marginal seat, actually think of what you need to do to get support. Don’t take our members for granted. Actively seek them out and give them a reason to back you. Give them a reason to think you are different, you will enact the change we need. Actually put pressure on the parliamentary wing to enact good policy. Because unless change is seen, unless we actually start inspiring our members again, that seat you think you deserve to win? You might just not get the support to win it…


19 Responses to “To All Aspiring NSW State Liberal Candidates”

  1. Bee Says:


  2. Rationalist Says:

    How to fix it?

  3. Tim Andrews Says:

    Re how to fix it – read my blog from a few days ago 🙂

  4. Brian Says:

    *stand up and applause*

  5. Tim Humphries Says:

    You should run too Tim! That’s the sort of one for the Gipper speech that wins hands down! *Applause*

  6. The Other Mob Says:

    Well the NSW Parliamentary Party is in a complete hole and the reason is because there is nobody with the guts to stand up to Barry O’Farrell.

    When you look across the Parlimentary Party there isn’t the commitment to small Governmnet, it’s a case of what Barry says goes. The mentality that exists in the Party Room is that they’re all set for the spoils of victory and they’re tripping over themselves to see who can suck up to Barry the most.

    For years the Right have been screwed over by successive leaders, whether it was Brogden, Debnam or O’Farrell, by now they’re all just conditioned to accept what they’re fed and it’s a s&*# sandwich. That’s not to mention that there’s hardly one amongst them who actually believes in the principles that the Liberal Party stands for, too many of them are just harking back to the glory days of the DLP and hoping for the resurrection of BA Santamaria.There are a few amongst them who are good people, but they’re all too scared to take on O’Farrell in the fear that they’ll be the one chopped from the Right’s quota of half a dozen portfolios or miss out the promotion they’ve coveted their entire Parliamentary career.

    Then you’ve got the moderates who have never had a great track record at standing up for principles, unless it’s a heroin injecting room, gay rights or something else on the fringes. They’re all behaving themselves, sitting quietly and measuring up the curtains in their new Ministerial offices. They have such a good deal from Barry that even Andrew Constance is going to be a Minister in the next Government.

    So what options do the NSW Liberals have?
    – Sit quiet and let O’Farrell lead a Liberal light outfit to the next election
    – Take a risk, axe O’Farrell and bring in Baird
    – All voluntarily resign and start the pre-selections for every single seat the Libs hold!
    From looking at the Party I think the latter is the best option.

    You really can’t blame O’Farrell for all of these decisions, you have to blame the people who are letting him make those decisions and that is the Parliamentary Party. Both Conservatives and the moderates have to have a good hard look at themselves and ask what sort of Government they’ll be. We all know that Leaders get amazing sway in Government and O’Farrell already has more power than he should in opposition, so what are they going to do in Government?

    The Right runs around talking tough and whining about O’Farrell, but they’ll never back Baird and are too busy falling over each other to stand up to the beast. Then you’ve got the Left who are too busy working out their Ministerial staffing allocation to push one of their own up for the challenge. All the time O’Farrell is getting away with murdering the Liberal Party’s platform.

    So who will be the new Libs in Parliament? Pre-selectors will have a pretty clear choice – there will be the careerist hacks, the local celebrities and grass roots champions who don’t have a political bone in their body and then there’ll be the people who can change the party.

    When the Liberal Party has the chance to pre-select those who espouse true Liberal values, like they could have with Peter Phelps for the Upper House in 2007, they tend to reject them. No doubt they’ll do the same thing again and the Liberal Government will be run by one man and fail to stand for any Liberal principles. Then we’ll be back here again and asking ourselves why it is that the Liberal Party is doing X, but then they’ll be in Government and it will be a whole lot worse!

  7. The Other Mob Says:

    The only redeeming quality they do have is that they aren’t the Labor Government and they couldn’t possibly do any worse…we hope!

  8. Bee Says:

    I don’t know who you are, The Other Mob (but boy would I like to! ), but I applaud a lot of what you have to say, especially this paragraph:

    “For years the Right have been screwed over by successive leaders, whether it was Brogden, Debnam or O’Farrell, by now they’re all just conditioned to accept what they’re fed and it’s a s&*# sandwich. That’s not to mention that there’s hardly one amongst them who actually believes in the principles that the Liberal Party stands for, too many of them are just harking back to the glory days of the DLP and hoping for the resurrection of BA Santamaria.There are a few amongst them who are good people, but they’re all too scared to take on O’Farrell in the fear that they’ll be the one chopped from the Right’s quota of half a dozen portfolios or miss out the promotion they’ve coveted their entire Parliamentary career.”

    I also agree with you that option c) is preferable in terms of what to do. I think a lot of us quietly agree, actually, but it’s almost a case of, ‘What do we do?’ There’s no way c) would happen, much as I’d like to see it occur.

    I’ve got to say though – why Baird? (Honest question…)

    I do disagree to an extent that there’s not many of us who believe in small government. There’s more of us than one might think but the problem is – like with Peter Phelps as you suggest – we get constantly criticised from the Santamaria crowd and the moderates. I just wish that – as you say – we were more forceful about standing up for what we believe in. You’re 100% correct in that we need to stand up to Barry – but the question is: how?

  9. A Response to Tim Andrews « Catholicism and Liberty Says:

    […] I confess: I’m one of those disaffected Liberal supporters Tim talks about in his latest post. […]

  10. The Other Mob Says:

    Bee…how? We need to change the party. Pure and simple. Get the deadwood out, get some people with beliefs in.

    So why Baird? Well, unfortunately, there’s nobody else, no choice. Peter Debnam isn’t coming back, Pru Goward is only just finding her feet in Parliament she’d have no chance as leader, Greg Smith would be no different and isn’t the Leadership type, Chris Hartcher is yesterday’s man. So unless you want to go wading through the B-Team there’s just no other option.

  11. Bee Says:

    I wish I knew who you were, Mr Other Mob. I’d love to have a chat with you because it’s frustrating watching the party implode while none of us can overtly say anything. (For what it’s worth, I just wrote a response to Tim’s post in my own blog basically saying exactly what you did re: deadwood, in longer form.)

  12. Nick Says:

    One thing we can agree on, is that we have no leaders in the NSW Liberals.

    O’Farrell and Farlow have to be replaced with people who lead, inspire and mosty importantly unite. Not this Liberal-Lite that compromises everything and achieves nothing.

  13. Bee Says:

    O’Farrell, yes.

    Farlow, no. He’s doing his best to unite people and for that, he’s being attacked by the likes of you.

  14. Brian Says:

    O’Farrell YES,

    Farlow YES

    Both get graded ‘F’. Their divide and rule method to leadership is tearing the party apart. Their only beliefs is how to stay on power.

  15. Jake the Muss Says:

    I wish I lived in NSW, it’s all so much more interesting than the ACT.

  16. Zhao Says:

    O’Farrell Out
    Farlow Out

    That’s my 2 cents worth.

    Also, it seems to be the same 2-3 hacks that keep defending Farlow and his Ambition Faction!

  17. Tim Andrews Says:

    As opposed to only one hack attacking him. You. Using – what is it, 6 or 7 different names so far?

    I mean seriously, if you want to post as different people here, at least have the brains to not use the same email address for each one. They might not be publicity available, but I can still see them…

  18. Bee Says:

    I wondered about that, I’ve got to say!

  19. The Other Mob Says:

    Reading through the debate my I start by commending The Hon. Charlie Lynn MLC for his words in the debate:

    “The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN [9.14 p.m.]: Everybody brings a different perspective to this type of debate. Although I did not intend to comment on the Education Amendment (Publication of School Results) Bill 2009, I will impart my perspective. When I was in the Army and we had to move every two years, my three daughters went to a Catholic school. Increasingly families have to move from location to location, so children have to change schools frequently. My girls went to Catholic schools because I thought that at least Catholic schools would provide some type of standardisation of education throughout Australia. At one stage they were attending a Catholic school at Penrith but because of my posting to the city, we had to move to the eastern suburbs. My three daughters had to drop back a full year because their old school was a year behind the public school curriculum. I questioned that and I was told that there was no standardisation mechanism. Nevertheless, they were a year behind.

    In those days I did not know enough about the education system to speak to someone about it, but as a parent I would have loved to have had a system that enabled me to look at the schools and find where I could best place my daughters. We know that parents are prepared to sacrifice almost everything for their children’s education. We certainly were; we went without a lot to get it, and I think that is a fairly common point of view. I think parents should have the opportunity to obtain as much information as possible to enable them to make proper decisions in regard to the education of their children. I felt that the education system failed us. It took a long time to recover from that. I do not think that information on schools should be denied to parents who are trying to do the right thing for their children.”

    May I then condemn him for voting for the Greens’ amendment. I will also go the extra step in condemning The Hon. Robyn Parker MLC for everything she said in the debate and condemning all the other Liberal MLCs who didn’t have the guts to speak up on this motion across both sides of the factional spectrum. Not to mention the condemnation of the Greens, CDP and Shooters, but that, as always, should be a given.

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